Sunday, 27 September 2009

Maths Symbols versus Real life Applications| Teaching style

Is maths interesting and is easy to learn or teach?

There are always argument over how to really capture maths students' attention and make them understand the principles and concepts in maths.

One school of thought is to approach the real life case studies.
Here actual applications are taught to make aware the usefulness of maths.
Problem-based case studies are planned into the curriculum to allow the learners to learn maths.

Another approach that is conventional is to pump in concepts and techniques using symbols and hard formulae.
Here students learn maths consists of symbols and their true meaning in the workings.
No real life indication is mentioned or just skimmed through. The focus is purely the use of maths tools to solve questions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

1) For real life approach, there are chances that the learners may couple their maths learning to only that particular application.
If train speed is mentioned or used, the students may only understand that the maths tools apply to train and not areoplane. The scope of aplication is a factor and serve to be a disadvantage.
The advantage is that the learners can relate to the usefulness of maths and will pay more attention and feel more fulfilled.

2) The advantage of pure symbolic approach in the conventional teaching method is that scope of the maths tools are wide. No tying down of the maths techniques to any specific area enables fredom of use.
The disadvantage, of course, is that the students may take a longer time to see that actual useulness of the maths tools and principles.

So what is the best method to learn maths?

I suppose the answer lies with the type of students and the topics to be taught.
No one way is best.
It has to be customised to suit the students or majority of them
Flexibility is thus the best methods and getting a good maths teacher who can read the minds of the students is the better choice.

If the classroom teacher is not up to expectation or has some constraints, it will be good to look for private tutors to brush up the maths learning. Note, classroom teaching does not cater for individual needs and this is a fact.

Happy maths learning.
Maths is interesting!
Don't forget it.


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